Jason Fried is breaking the mold. CEO of Basecamp, a profitable and growing web-based project management tool business, his latest book is called It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work, which The Economist said is “the best thing on management published this year.” In it, Fried and co-author David Heinemeier Hansson, also a Basecamp cofounder, call BS on workaholic managers and owners.
They intelligently write that workaholism is a contagious disease and you can’t stop the spread of it if you’re the one bringing it into the office. Instead, they propose running a calm company, with realistic deadlines, reasonable hours, few meetings, and autonomy. They also vouch for ample sleep, rest, and perspective from other things in your life besides work.
Compare this advice with what we are hearing from Elon Musk, CEO of four companies. “A person needs to work 80-100 hours per week to change the world,” Musk tweeted last week. This is something he demonstrated by working 120 hours per week when increasing production of the company’s Model 3 sedan, with his Tesla employees also working 100 hours per week at times.
I’m calling BS on Musk, his cult followers, and his horrible advice, because there is no way he is creating amazing workplaces that engage employees and encourage them to be the best version of themselves every day. I saw Musk on the television show 60 Minutes last night and he appeared to be exhausted, jittery, and nonchalant about recent SEC infractions. He spoke of his horribly abusive childhood in South Africa at the hands of his father, and – while I do not claim to be a psychologist – my guess is Musk still believes his life needs to be difficult and painful.
Compare Musk with leaders like Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, and there simply is no comparison. Most people in this world are not inspired by workhorse leaders, who outwardly admit that they are miserable. Most people in this world are inspired by balanced leaders, who outwardly praise employees and build employee-centric cultures.
WHAT CAN I DO? Pick up a copy of, It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work, and put some of the teachings into practice with your team members. Workaholic managers and owners are usually not balanced or truly happy. Make a resolution to gain some perspective on what really matters in life and what engages employees, and execute.
To that end, I’m off next week to celebrate the holidays with my family. My next blog will be published on Jan. 3, 2019. My greatest wish for you is balance, rest, relaxation, good health, and joy as we close 2018. In Peace, Jill